Scheduled seminars

Please note: Unless otherwise specified, seminars are held in the Australian Antarctic Division theatrette located in Kingston, Tasmania.

Thursday 24 January 2019, 10:30am–11:30am

A cryptic Gondwana-forming orogen in Antarctica

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to invite you to a special AAD seminar presented by A/Prof Nathan Daczko from the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Macquarie University. Nathan’s research interests are varied and include structural geology and tectonics, metamorphic petrology and thermobarometry, evolution of plate boundary zones, integration of geological and geophysical data, geochronology, and field mapping.

Today he will talk about the Kuunga orogeny (from Swahili "to unite") that occurred in South-east Africa during the Ediacaran and Cambrian in a talk entitled

A cryptic Gondwana-forming orogen located in Antarctica

Abstract

The most poorly exposed and least understood Gondwana-forming orogen lies largely hidden beneath ice in East Antarctica. Called the Kuunga orogen, its interpolation between scattered outcrops is speculative with differing and often contradictory trends proposed, and no consensus on the location of any sutures. While some discount a suture altogether, paleomagnetic data from Indo-Antarctica and Australo-Antarctica do require 3000–5000 km relative displacement during Ediacaran-Cambrian Gondwana amalgamation, suggesting that the Kuunga orogen sutured provinces of broadly Indian versus Australian affinity. Here, compiled and new data from detrital minerals offshore of East Antarctica fingerprint two coastal subglacial basement provinces between 60 and 130°E, one of Indian affinity with dominant ca. 980–900 Ma ages (Indo-Antarctica) and one of Australian affinity with dominant ca. 1190–1140 and ca. 1560 Ma ages (Australo-Antarctica). This offshore compilation is combined with existing and new onshore mineral isotopic character and previous geophysical interpretations to delimit the Indo-Australo-Antarctic boundary at a prominent geophysical lineament which intersects the coast east of Mirny at ~94°E. This research will lead to improvements in plate tectonic models for the amalgamation of Gondwana.

Please join us in the AAD theatrette on Thursday, 24 January, at 10:30 am. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

AAD Seminar Team

Seminars held during the past six months

Thursday 28 September 2017, 11:30am–12:30pm

What's Happening to the Antarctic Ozone Hole - Has It Repaired Yet?

This seminar will be presented by Dr Andrew Klekociuk (AAD). Andrew has been with the AAD for more than 30 years, and leads the Future Climate and Sea Level section of the AAD's Antarctica and the Global System science program. He currently specialises in ozone research, and along the way has accumulated more than 4 years in Antarctica. Andrew investigated various workings of atmospheric regions from the ground to the edge of space using a variety of observational and modelling techniques.

Abstract

If you have ever wondered about ozone and the Antarctic Ozone Hole, then this talk is for you.

The extremely rarefied layer of ozone molecules that resides in the lower stratosphere, some 20 km above Earth's surface, is a vital shield protecting life from the Sun's harmful ultraviolet radiations. Over more than 5 decades we have witnessed a thinning of the ozone layer that is directly linked to the industrial production of certain gases. The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which internationally came into force in 1989, has been successful in reducing the amount of ozone depleting gases in the atmosphere, and there a signs that the ozone layer is recovering.

Since the late 1970s, human-induced ozone destruction has been especially significant in the Antarctic, where ozone concentrations have been reduced by up to 70% during spring. This reduction results in the so-called Antarctic Ozone Hole which at times has exceeded twice the area of the continent. Since the early 2000s, the overall severity of the Ozone Hole has generally diminished in a manner consistent with the actions of the Montreal Protocol. While this is good news, there are some interesting twists to the story about how saving the ozone layer is playing out with changes in climate, both in the Antarctic and globally.

In this talk, I will give a very general overview of how society has influenced the ozone layer, emphasising what has happened in the Antarctic. I will discuss the current and expected future state of the Ozone Hole and the link between changes in ozone and climate, and outline AAD research that is helping to anticipate the future implications of ozone repair.

This is the last seminar in our 2017 series! Please come and join us in the AAD theatrette on 28 September at 11.30 am. All welcome!

AAD Seminar Team

Thursday 21 September 2017, 11:30am–12:30pm

Conserving Antarctic Terrestrial Biodiversity in the Face of Multiple Threats

This seminar will be presented by Miss Jasmine Lee. Jasmine is a conservation scientist and spatial ecologist in her the final year of her PhD, based at the University of Queensland. Her research focuses on conserving terrestrial Antarctic biodiversity in the face of multiple threats. She is passionate about using robust science to form evidence-based polity and help species and ecosystems cope with climate change.

Abstract

Contrary to a popular belief that Antarctica is safe and extremely well protected, Antarctic terrestrial biodiversity is actually threatened by multiple stressors, including climate change, invasive species and an expanding human footprint.

This talk will give an overview of my PhD work, which concentrates on better understanding these pressures and finding ways to help alleviate them. I will begin by exploring the potential impacts of climate change on the terrestrial Antarctic environment (which could results in a 25% expansion of ice-free biodiversity habitat), followed by an assessment of the vulnerability of different taxonomic groups. I conclude with a summary of potential management strategies we could use to start alleviating pressures. These strategies were derived using an expert elicitation process at a SCAR workshop in Belgium in July 2017.

Please join us in the AAD theatrette on Thursday, 21 September, as 11.30 am. All welcome!

AAD Seminar Team

Thursday 31 August 2017, 11:30am–12:30pm

Spatial distributions of Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) in the Indian sector of the Southern Ocean: potential drivers and implications for fisheries management

Note: This seminar had to be postponed. There will be no seminar this week. 

Dr Peter Yates (AAD) joined the Fisheries Ecology and Management Section in 2015, and much of his work focusses on CCAMLR’s Exploratory Fisheries targeting toothfish. Before working at the AAD, he did his PhD at James Cook University where he investigated the habitat use of tropical coastal sharks. In his talk, Peter will provide an update on the newest insights into how toothfish stocks are structured and what variables may affect them.

Abstract

Exploratory longline fisheries targeting mainly Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) have been operating in the Indian sector of the Southern Ocean since 2003. Despite the ecological and economic significance of toothfish stocks in this region, there remain scarce data on their structure and functioning, and on the associated ecological drivers. As a result, formal stock assessments have yet to be developed for these fisheries. Accordingly, this study used spatially explicit models to characterise relationships between environmental variables and the distributions of mature and immature Antarctic toothfish. These models were used to generate predictions of relative toothfish densities across a broad spatial scale, and develop hypotheses regarding the structure and functioning of toothfish stocks and likely ecological drivers.

Please join us in the AAD theatrette for this talk. All welcome!

Science seminar team

Thursday 24 August 2017, 11:30am–12:30pm

What is the Future of the Totten Glacier? plus Provisions, Polynyas & People of V2 16/17

This week we have two presenters: Dr Ben Galton-Fenzi (AAD & ACE-CRC) and Noel Tennant (AAD). Ben is the Co-Leader of the ACE CRC’s Ocean Forced Evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet Project; his main interest is in the processes governing the interaction between the Earth’s ice sheets, the oceans and other parts of the geophysical system. Ben will talk about changes in the Totten Glacier, the largest glacier in East Antarctic, caused by the warming climate. Noel is a Station Support Officer who has spent a lot of time on our various stations. Keen photographer (cinematographer) that he is, he put together a video about V2 of last season. This video will follow Ben's talk.

Please join us in the AAD theatrette for these intriguing presentations. All welcome!

Science seminar team

Wednesday 16 August 2017, 11:30am–12:30pm

Antarctic Krill Populations and Southern Ocean Zooplankton Communities: a Genetics Perspective

Note: Due to activities for Science Week this seminar had to be moved to Wednesday, 16 August.

Dr Bruce Deagle leads the ecological genetics group at the AAD. He uses genetic tools to answer a wide range of topics. One of his recent projects was to examine the population structure of Antarctic krill and determine how krill may be affected by CO2-induced stress. This week, Bruce will give a talk on the small but ever-so-important critters in the Southern Ocean.

Abstract

Advances in genetics have revolutionised everything from medical diagnosis to crime scene forensics. The technology is also increasingly being used to study ecology, creating many potential applications in Australia's Antarctic research program. In this talk, I will first give a brief overview of the research we do in the AAD ecological genetics group, ranging from developing DNA-based methods to age seabirds to learning about the microbes that live on krill. Then I will provide more details about two projects that I have been working on recently. The first addressed the question whether krill comprises a single population throughout the Southern Ocean, or divides into genetically distinct sub-populations. The second is work we have done to see if DNA can be used to efficiently identify zooplankton collected by the Continuous Plankton Recorder.

Please join us in the theatrette of the AAD for this presentation! All welcome!

Science seminar team

Thursday 10 August 2017, 11:30am–12:30pm

Homeward Bound: Taking 76 women to Antarctica to Learn about Leadership, Science and Strategy

This week's presentation will be given by Dr Justine Shaw (University of Queensland). Justine is a research fellow with a keen interest in the conservation of sub-Antarctic and Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems. She studies how introduced species affect ecosystem function in these wilderness areas. In her talk today, however, she will share her experiences on an all-female Homeward Bound voyage to Antarctica in 2016.

Abstract

What happens when you take 76 female scientists on a boat to Antarctica? I will be talking about an initiative that I have been co-leading, Homeward Bound. It is a pioneer program of leadership, strategy and science for women scientists form around the world. After just two years from inception to design to recruitment we set sail on the inaugural Homeward Bound voyage to Antarctica from Ushuaia, Argentina, in December 2016. On board were 76 women from 11 different countries, all scientists, who had self-identified that they wanted to heighten their impact as individuals and collectively in science and global change leadership. I'll talk about the logistics of the trip, the role of Antarctica in the program. I will discuss how we kick-started this initiative, implemented a trans-disciplinary leadership and science program - and undertook a 20 day voyage in Antarctica. I'll report on our visits to Argentinian (Carlini) and US (Palmer) stations. We learnt a lot about scientists, leadership and Antarctica.

The seminar will take place in the theatrette of the AAD. Please join us and share in the adventure. All welcome!

Science seminar team

Thursday 3 August 2017, 10am–11am

Feature Tracking in Antarctica - what use is it?

Note: This seminar will start at 10.00 am

This seminar will be presented by physicist and long term 'antarcticophile' Dr Barry Giles (School of Mathematics and Physics, UTas & ACE-CRC). Growing up in north London in the 1950s and 1960s, Barry was fascinated with Antarctic exploration and remembers seeing Scott's Discovery on the River Thames, and John Mills in the movie "Scott of the Antarctic". Apart from Monty Python's treatment of Antarctic explorers he had no contact with the reality of the Southern Continent until he arrived in Tasmania and found that half the Physics department had been there! Today Barry will talk about a fascinating image analysis method known as 'Feature Tracking'.

Abstract

The basic method will be described with various issues being outlined before illustrating what we might call ‘classic’ feature tracking with an example on the Lambert Glacier. Features on a glacier are expected to move and they do. The first fast ice maps in Antarctica were created by turning the previous approach on its head – searching for features that don't move (fast ice) in regions where they should (ocean). The Mertz Glacier Tongue (MTG) was used as a 'test target' to investigate the image registration accuracy within the standard Radarsat Alaska SAR system. This revealed some motion in the Multi-Year Fast ice (MYFI) on its eastern side. The movement and differential flow of the MGT were examined together with the history of iceberg collisions leading up to its major calving in 2010. The IPADS system was developed to automate the mapping of pack ice flow and the mapping of fast ice maps, very different to the slow manual process of earlier years, in the Marginal Ice Zone. The MTG broke off in 2010 and the remaining 'stub' continued to grow. Examining these new positions prompted a re-examination of all historical observations which led to the suggestion of a ~73 year quasi-periodic nature for the MGT. These 'clock' cycles may have existed for 1000s of years.

The seminar will be held in the theatrette of the AAD. Please join us for this presentation. All welcome!

Science seminar team

Thursday 27 July 2017, 11:30am–12:30pm

Southern Ocean Phytoplankton in a Changing Climate

Stacey Deppler is a PhD student at IMAS whose project examines how ecosystems are adapting to changes in phytoplankton communities in the Southern Ocean. All Antarctic marine life, no matter how big or small, is dependent on phytoplankton or food. In her talk, Stacey will summarise what she and her collaborators found. She will discuss how climate change is predicted to affect the Southern Ocean, the likely effects these changes will have on the phytoplankton community, and the ramifications this may have on the Antarctic food web and feedbacks to global climate change.

Abstract

Phytoplankton is the base of the Antarctic food web, sustains the wealth and diversity of life for which Antarctica is renowned, and plays a critical role in biogeochemical cycles that mediate global climate. In our recently published article in Frontiers in Marine Science, myself and Andrew Davidson thoroughly assessed the literature on the current physical and oceanographic characteristics of the Southern Ocean, separating it into five important regions: the Sub-Antarctic Zone, the Permanently Open Ocean Zone, the Seasonal Sea Ice Zone, the Marginal Ice Zone and the Antarctic Continental Shelf Zone. Within each of these regions we assessed the current structure and function of the phytoplankton community and the major environmental factors that define them. We also examined how climate change is predicted to affect the physical and oceanographic environment and what effect this might have on the phytoplankton community.

The seminar will be held in the AAD theatrette starting at 11.30 am.

Please come and join us! All welcome!!

Science Seminar Team

Thursday 20 July 2017, 11:30am–12:30pm

Looking at Clouds over the Southern Ocean: the Science and the Logistics

Dr Simon Alexander (AAD) is an atmospheric scientist with an interest in polar ozone processes, atmospheric gravity waves, and Southern Ocean and Antarctic clouds. Simon's research on clouds is unprecedented as something like this has never been done in our region. Simon will explain the importance and impact of this work in his presentation.

Abstract

This coming summer, an unprecedented international field campaign to study pristine Southern Ocean clouds will take place. A US research aircraft will fly out of Hobart on repeated sorties to investigate the structure of clouds and cloud microphysics. At the same time, clouds, aerosol and precipitation instruments onboard RSV Aurora Australis and RV Investigator will make continuous surface-based measurements as the ships repeatedly transect the open ocean and sea ice zone. Lastly, a two-year cloud and aerosol observation campaign at Macquarie Island will complement the short-duration but intensive ship and aircraft campaigns.

The seminar will be held in the AAD theatrette at 11.30 am. Please come and join us for this presentation! All welcome!

Science Seminar Team

Thursday 13 July 2017, 11:30am–12:30pm

Overview of the Antarctic Modernisation Taskforce Traverse Activities for the 2016/17 Summer

This week, our speakers are Anthony Hull, aka Hully (AAD) and Steve Macaulay (AAD). Hully has a long and varied career at the AAD. He worked as FTO and senior FTO and supported many science projects including biology, glaciology and geology. Since his early days he has become an Operations Specialist at the AAD. Steve joined the AAD in 2010 and wintered at Casey. In 2016/17, Steve and Hully joined British and French teams on traverses. Steve and Hully will be sharing their experiences and provide insights into these massive operation.

Abstract

The aim of this presentation is to give an overview of two other National Antarctic programs' traverse activities. Steve Macaulay (Traverse Systems Project Officer) spent the 2016/17 summer with the French (IPEV) program and participated in two traverses from Cape Prudhomme to Dome Concordia and provided a support function for a 3rd traverse. Anthony Hull (Traverse Systems Project Lead Officer) joined the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and participated in a logistics traverse on the Ronne Ice Shelf.

The seminar will take place in the AAD theatrette, starting at 11.30 am.

Please join us and learn more about these trips. All welcome!

Science Seminar Team